RAF: Heavenly Father, it is in this matter of whole-heartedness that I see such failure in myself. I content myself so easily in you. To barely know you. To spend little real time with you. To be so unfamiliar with what you have taken countless lives to reveal, write, copy and preserve throughout the centuries for us. To think little of your daily graces. To live in the shadow of the Cross and virtually take it for granted at times. Oh Father – make me a whole-hearted man after you.
2 – “ After Amaziah came from striking down the Edomites, he brought the gods of the men of Seir and set them up as his gods and worshiped them, making offerings to them.” (2 Chronicles 25:14, ESV)
RAF: It is a seductive thing to make idols out of our victories. We serve well in some capacity, God uses us, people are blessed, and soon we are treasuring the battle, the victory, the usefulness – our ministry – more than the God who gave us all these things. Don’t bow the knee to and worship your accomplishments. Love the Lord who wrought such things through you. To live here, is to live in the past. Past experiences and usefulness. And not to look forward to a future.
3 – “Therefore the Lord was angry with Amaziah and sent to him a prophet, who said to him, “Why have you sought the gods of a people who did not deliver their own people from your hand?” But as he was speaking, the king said to him, “Have we made you a royal counselor? Stop! Why should you be struck down?” So the prophet stopped, but said, “I know that God has determined to destroy you, because you have done this and have not listened to my counsel.”” (2 Chronicles 25:15-16, ESV)
RAF: Father, give me ears to hear all of your rebuke. Keep me from hardening my heart in such hours – and then going on to judgment because I would not hear, humble myself, repent and seek your mercy.
4 – “But Amaziah would not listen, for it was of God, in order that he might give them into the hand of their enemies, because they had sought the gods of Edom.” (2 Chronicles 25:20, ESV)
RAF: If you will not listen to God’s wisdom, chances are you’ll reject the wisdom of men too. You will face the fruit of rejecting both God’s and human wisdom – you will be brought down by your arrogance. God, give me hearing ears.
5 – “ But when he was strong, he grew proud, to his destruction. For he was unfaithful to the Lord his God and entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense.” (2 Chronicles 26:16, ESV)
RAF: None were to burn incense on this altar but the Priests. But when we grow proud, we take to ourselves positions and power and authority which do not belong to us. No wonder Paul makes such an issue out of remaining weak – and of delighting in it. How it kept him from exalting himself and thus kept him fruitful in ministry to others, and glorifying God. Heavenly Father, keep me weak. Let nothing make me proud. Give me a heart that leaves what you have assigned to others, to them. Let me not imagine myself in some special position where I can do whatever I want. It is better to rely on your strength than my own. Let me learn the joy of total dependence upon you, rather than the mock joy of self-dependence or independence.
6 – “ Jotham was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jerushah the daughter of Zadok. And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord according to all that his father Uzziah had done, except he did not enter the temple of the Lord. But the people still followed corrupt practices.” (2 Chronicles 27:1-2, ESV)
RAF: Sometimes in spite of good leadership, the people remain corrupt. This is true in the home – for Godly parents may at times raise obstinate and un-Godly children. This is true in the Church. There are Godly and good pastors who nevertheless struggle with un-Godly and obdurate congregations. It is not the norm, but it is not unheard of.
7 – ” Therefore the Lord his God gave him into the hand of the king of Syria, who defeated him and took captive a great number of his people and brought them to Damascus. He was also given into the hand of the king of Israel, who struck him with great force.” (2 Chronicles 28:5, ESV)
RAF: Note that the text reads: “The Lord HIS God”, and not simply the “Lord God.” One may well claim the Lord as their God – and be no more His than was true for Ahaz. Most men lay claim to some religion. Some call themselves Christians. They are so only in the sense that as most men are religious or believe in God to some extent – the God they’ve been exposed to is the God of Christianity. They own Him as their god (little g) – but He is not truly God to them or in their lives. He might as well be one of the millions of Hindu gods, or the god of Mormonism, or the god of Islam. The “higher power” of Alcoholics Anonymous. They simply identify their god-concept with the traits most commonly attached to “god” in the circles they’re familiar with. They’ll even argue over such traits. But they do not know Him. They do not serve Him. He is simply their “god”. It is deception.
8 – “For there were many in the assembly who had not consecrated themselves. Therefore the Levites had to slaughter the Passover lamb for everyone who was not clean, to consecrate it to the Lord. For a majority of the people, many of them from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet they ate the Passover otherwise than as prescribed. For Hezekiah had prayed for them, saying, “May the good Lord pardon everyone who sets his heart to seek God, the Lord, the God of his fathers, even though not according to the sanctuary’s rules of cleanness.” And the Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people.” (2 Chronicles 30:17-20, ESV)
RAF: May we too be quick to bless those, who seek truly, though perhaps in a less than precise manner. It is more important that God be truly sought, than that He be sought crossing every “t” and dotting every “i”. True, we ought not to leave such in that condition. We should take time to teach and instruct them in the ways of the Lord more thoroughly – but we ought to scorn them, or reject them out of hand.
9 – ” After these things and these acts of faithfulness, Sennacherib king of Assyria came and invaded Judah and encamped against the fortified cities, thinking to win them for himself.” (2 Chronicles 32:1, ESV)
RAF: Faithfulness to God does not inoculate us from attack.
10 – “Has not this same Hezekiah taken away his high places and his altars and commanded Judah and Jerusalem, “Before one altar you shall worship, and on it you shall burn your sacrifices”?” (2 Chronicles 32:12, ESV)
RAF: The counsel of the World is that to serve God and God alone is risky business. It is to put all of your eggs into one basket. So that if it falls, all is lost. But that is the nature of true faith. It must cast aside confidence in anything and anyone else – and anchor itself in God alone.
11 – “ In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death, and he prayed to the Lord, and he answered him and gave him a sign. But Hezekiah did not make return according to the benefit done to him, for his heart was proud. Therefore wrath came upon him and Judah and Jerusalem. But Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the Lord did not come upon them in the days of Hezekiah.” (2 Chronicles 32:24-26, ESV)
RAF: Heavenly Father, I am guilty of this. I have not made a commensurate return to you according to the benefits done to me in even the smallest way. Oh how you have blessed me. Kept me. Treated me with the utmost kindness and patience when my heart has been distracted, self-absorbed, lazy in your service, and so horribly lacking in praise and thanksgiving. How destructive is the ingratitude of my heart. Please forgive me. Please wash me. Please grant me a heart and mind that feasts upon the reality of your riches and grace toward me in Christ, that I may ever send up the praises and thanksgiving due your holy, glorious name. I am so ashamed before you today. How good you are. How wonderful, sweet, patient, merciful, gracious and loving. Oh that my own heart and mind and life will reflect that every moment from this day forward. May I never slip into ingratitude again in even the slightest way. Thank you.
12 – “And so in the matter of the envoys of the princes of Babylon, who had been sent to him to inquire about the sign that had been done in the land, God left him to himself, in order to test him and to know all that was in his heart.” (2 Chronicles 32:31, ESV)
RAF: Here is the most trying of places – When God leaves to ourselves. In those hours when He does not appear near. When it seems as if we are all alone. When it does not seem as though we need Him. Do we still seek Him? Do we still run after Him? Are we content to live life on our own, as long as we are being honored, and nothing too bad is happening? When life seems OK, are we content to leave off seeking His face? Needing Him for daily life? Then we are near to falling. When we have no need to seek Him, and FIND Him each day – destruction is close at hand. If this is you today – God is testing you, that you might know what is really in your heart, and not fool yourself. If you have no deep sense of need for Him right now, you are in a desperate and dangerous place.
13 – “ The Lord spoke to Manasseh and to his people, but they paid no attention.” (2 Chronicles 33:10, ESV)
RAF: Oh how easily this becomes the case with us. It is not that God is ever silent. It is that we will not pay attention to what He is constantly screaming at us through His Word.
14 – “And when he was in distress, he entreated the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. He prayed to him, and God was moved by his entreaty and heard his plea and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God.” (2 Chronicles 33:12-13, ESV)
RAF: No matter how wicked. No matter how long you have persisted in your sin and rebellion. While there is life, there is hope in Christ. Humble yourself and call upon Him. He is full of mercy and grace. FULL!
15 – “And his prayer, and how God was moved by his entreaty, and all his sin and his faithlessness, and the sites on which he built high places and set up the Asherim and the images, before he humbled himself, behold, they are written in the Chronicles of the Seers.” (2 Chronicles 33:19, ESV)
RAF: This is a very great mystery – and a reality of the most divine of glories – That God can be “MOVED” by our entreaties. That He does not hear our prayers in some remote, disinterested, detached place of sovereign insulation. He allows Himself to be moved when we cry to Him. Christian – cry to Him!
16 – ““Go, inquire of the Lord for me and for those who are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book that has been found. For great is the wrath of the Lord that is poured out on us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the Lord, to do according to all that is written in this book.”” (2 Chronicles 34:21, ESV)
RAF: Outwardly, no one would have thought they were living under the great wrath of the Lord being poured out. Most of us do not see it today. We imagine life has its troubles, so be it. We do not take in the reality that death, war, disease, pain, suffering and every sadness in life is proof of God’s wrath being poured out upon the fallen race of Adam. We abide under His wrath every day. But we have grown so used to it, come to think of it as so much the norm, that we cannot imagine life apart from it. But that is why He has saved us. To deliver us from His wrath. And as long as we are in these bodies in this present fallen existence, we are living in it – though the Christian is living THROUGH it in the Ark of Safety which is Christ Jesus our Lord. So that what was merely God’s wrath before we were saved, is not caused to work together for the good to those who love Him and are the called according to His purpose. He is redeeming our sufferings at present, even though they are the very same sufferings which are wrath for those who do not know Him. How we need to evangelize. These are but the beginning of sorrows. How fearsome is the wrath to come?
17 – “ After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple, Neco king of Egypt went up to fight at Carchemish on the Euphrates, and Josiah went out to meet him. But he sent envoys to him, saying, “What have we to do with each other, king of Judah? I am not coming against you this day, but against the house with which I am at war. And God has commanded me to hurry. Cease opposing God, who is with me, lest he destroy you.” Nevertheless, Josiah did not turn away from him, but disguised himself in order to fight with him. He did not listen to the words of Neco from the mouth of God, but came to fight in the plain of Megiddo.” (2 Chronicles 35:20-22, ESV)
RAF: The downfall of many a good man, is occasioned by getting involved in battles that ought to not concern them. That are not properly their’s to fight. Choose your battles very carefully.